The Tulsa Greenhouse
December 22, 1928
Today is the birthday of the president and owner of Tulsa Greenhouse and Four State Wholesale, William B. Arnett.
The origins of Bill's greenhouse went back to 1916, when it was founded by Gordon Vernon Voight back in the early days of Tulsa.
During the depression, Bill's dad and a partner took over the retail nursery business started by Voight, and they, in turn, developed it to include a wholesale operation.
After learning the ropes from his father, Bill officially took over the business in 1966.
Bill and his wife Louise ran the business together. While they raised their four daughters, they oversaw five retail shops, three wholesale houses, and one growing facility.
Now, the wholesale side of the business created exciting opportunities for Bill. At one point, The Tulsa Greenhouse provided flowers for florists across four states. Bill enjoyed sharing his expertise with others.
And in addition to personally training florists, Bill influenced an entire generation of new designers by contributing to design schools every holiday season.
A lover of fresh flowers, Bill prided himself on knowing every aspect of the business, including how to grow each of the flowers in his nursery.
In his obituary, Bill's family recalled the time Bill flew on the first jet airliner out of Tulsa. Now, this was no vacation. Bill had brought along a bouquet of fresh roses, and he wanted to see just how fast he could ship them across the country. He was a true floral businessman.
At the time of Bill's death, he'd lost his wife Louise (after being married to her for 60 years), he'd served as president of the Wholesale Florists and Florist Suppliers of America, he’d left a mark on the florist industry in the heart of the country, and he’d closed his business in 2005 (after 90 years of operating in Tulsa).
And I found out about Bill after I stumbled on his obituary online. In Bill's obituary, one of his daughters said something that I thought was such a beautiful quote and a wonderful tribute about what it was like to grow up with her dad,
“We were surrounded by flowers all our lives — there were flowers galore.”